The Current State of Virtual Healthcare

In the past, virtual health healthcare was considered an alternative for those who were too busy to go to the doctor’s office for a check. However, the views and opinions towards virtual healthcare are slowly changing in the wake of the coronavirus.

In this article, you will learn more about virtual health and its current state today. Knowing these details will help you get information whether you should make virtual health care as an option or whether you should stick to traditional healthcare.

What is virtual healthcare?

Many people think that virtual healthcare and telehealth is one and the same.

However, they are not. Virtual healthcare is under the broad umbrella of telehealth.

Virtual healthcare refers to the “virtual visit” between clinicians and patients using mediums of communication technology i.e. audio and video messaging. The “virtual visit” can be done from any location at real time. An example of this is the video conference between a doctor from a hospital and a patient who is at home.

Virtual healthcare is very advantageous for patients who have mobility problems. Instead of going to the hospital and spending time waiting for their turn, they can just have the consultation through virtual means.

Another advantage of virtual healthcare is that the second opinion is more accessible. Even if the specialist that you want to consult lives in another state, getting their opinion about your condition can be easier when virtual healthcare is involved.

Aside from that, virtual healthcare enables easier and more convenient ways of monitoring the condition of patients with chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. Individuals with these conditions are prone to rehospitalization, and this calls for consistent monitoring and follow-ups.

The Current State of Virtual Healthcare

According to a study conducted by the American Medical Association in 2018, 15% of doctors in the United States use telemedicine. In 2019, that number has increased to 22%. Today, since the world is facing the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of doctors who utilize telemedicine has skyrocketed. So, what does this mean for virtual healthcare?

This means that many doctors and patients are now opting to conduct consultation through virtual healthcare. This is because it helps protect patients who are immunocompromised from being exposed to a hospital environment which has high risk of infection for COVID-19. It also enables hospitals and patients to adhere to strict social distancing as a measure against contracting the infection.

In the past, virtual healthcare was considered an alternative. Only a few people consider it despite most medical practices offering telehealth services. Today, virtual health is gaining more popularity and it has become more than just an option.

If the pandemic continues in the following months, the demand for virtual health care will continue to grow. In fact, this demand will be on the entire telehealth industry.

Access to Virtual Healthcare

Today, there are three different ways that one can access virtual health care. They include:

1. Through the doctor’s office

Your current physician may offer virtual healthcare services. The nice thing about them offering virtual healthcare services is that the chances of it being covered by your insurance is high. Be sure to contact your doctor if you are uncertain whether they conduct virtual healthcare.

2. Through the insurance company

Prominent insurance companies in the United States such as Humana, Aetna, Signa, United Healthcare and BCBS provide coverage for virtual healthcare services. Consult your insurance company to find out the virtual healthcare platforms that they are affiliated with.

3. By enrolling in a telemedicine platform

The quickest way to get access to virtual healthcare is by directly enrolling in various telemedicine platforms. However, be informed that signing up for virtual healthcare directly from these services will cost you more from your own pocket.

Typically, it can cost between $30 to $50 dollars to get virtual healthcare via chat per hour. The price for video virtual healthcare can be around $40 to $100 dollars per hour.

Established Telehealth Companies You Should Know About

Since telehealth is a new industry, there is not much available information about telemedicine companies. The following telehealth companies are some of the most well-established service providers in the industry.

Amwell

Amwell helps health insurance companies and hospitals launch their own telehealth platforms. One of their previous works is the “Express Care” of Cleveland Clinic and the “Live Health Online of Anthem”. They have their own platform, the Amwell app which patients can enroll in to get access to pediatric, nutritional health, behavioral health, urgent care and many more.

DoctorSpring

DoctorSpring provides its customers with medical expertise by connecting them with professionals through phone, chat or video calls. Something that stands out about this company is that their services are available 24/7. For this reason, you can be assured to connect with a physician all-around-the clock, which is a great thing. They also have a specialist second opinion platform which is ranked among top 5 in the world.

Doctors On Demand

In just a few minutes, you will be connected to a doctor through Doctors on Demand. This company offers a wide range of services such as preventative health, chronic care, behavioral health and urgent care. They are also affiliated with various health insurance providers. Hence, this may be one the most cost-effective companies out there.

Ro

Ro is a platform that focuses on three digital health services; Roman, Rory and Zero. Like other platforms, it helps you connect with experts that can help manage your conditions. Ro is special because they have an in-house pharmacy where you can get your prescriptions from.

Although virtual healthcare is an accessible way of getting medical attention, it does not replace in-person physician care. However, due to the circumstances of today, it can be considered as a good complement for the overall care of the patient.

Virtual healthcare can be good for minor issues and therapy sessions. Nonetheless, it is advisable to take follow-up consultations in hospitals so that you can get the necessary laboratory tests to confirm your diagnosis. If you are considering virtual healthcare, the first step is to consult your primary physician whether doing so is good for you.